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October 26, 1990 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-10-26

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Building Bridges

Continued from Page 1

Shenandoah Country Club has been the home of the Chaldean Com-
munity Center for about a year.

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Linda George, a Chaldean
dance group, the Hora Aviv
Israeli Folkdance Troupe
and Mack Pitt and his or-
chestra. The concert is free
to the public, but tickets
must be picked up at Temple
The concert, according to
leaders from both groups, is
just a beginning. There are
plans to start cross-cultural
adult discussion groups, so-
cial action groups and youth
groups. The efforts of the two
organizations has also been
supported by resolutions
from the West Bloomfield
Township board, the school
board and area clergy.
"Our goal is to have an
ongoing educational project
together," Cantor Orbach
Dr. Nancy Gad-Harf, Tem-
ple Israel's program consul-
tant is anxious to start a
number of social action pro-
grams with the Chaldean
Center. Some of those pro-
grams, she said, might in-
volve common goals in work-
ing with the homeless and
the hungry.
"Our thought was that we
can get together and identify
other common causes," Dr.
Gad-Harf said.
The Chaldean Center will,
in many ways, be similar to
the Jewish Community
Center once it is completed.
Mr. Zair said the Chaldean
Center plans to maintain
and operate the golf course
as a public facility. There
are future plans to build a
full-service cultural center
near the existing 18th hole
of the golf course. Mr. Zair
said the Center will be the
first of its size and scope ever
built for the 75,000 members
of the Detroit area Chaldean
community. The current
clubhouse of the former
Shenandoah Club is now be-
ing used for cultural pro-
Mr. Zair said efforts will be
made by the Chaldean corn-

munity and Temple Israel to
send speakers to West
Bloomfield's schools and re-
ligious centers. They will
discuss ethnic understan-
"There is no reason why
we can't be good neighbors,"
Mr. Zair said. "We all are
people; we all believe in one
God. We send our children to
the same public schools and
we live in the same neigh-
Jamal Shallal, working
with Mr. Zair on the cross-
cultural project and a long-
time West Bloomfield resi-
dent, said the primary objec-
tive of the two groups is "to
wipe out the old thinking."
Mr. Shallal said that when
he was growing up in
Bagdad, he couldn't re-
member any problems bet-
ween himself and his Jewish
friends. He said the
difficulties started in 1948
when the State of Israel was
created. He said the politi-
cians within the Middle East
created an "environment of
anxiety." But he added that
the anxiety in Iraq even
after Israel was created was
typically between the Jews
and the Muslims, not the
Jews and the Chaldeans.
"One thing that is
misinterpreted is that Chal-
deans are not Arabs," Mr.
Zair said. "The Muslims are
the Arabs. We are Chris-
tians from Iraq. And
through the years, like our
Jewish friends, we've been
successful in business. Jews
and Chaldeans, I'm saying,
have more in common with
one another than differ-
Mr. Shallal said the cur-
rent tensions between the
United States and Iraq have
caused anti-Chaldean sen-
timents in some circles. But
he said working with a
group such as Temple Israel
makes it easier to discuss

Continued on Page 14

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